LIAR

Liar, liar, pants on fire.  Remember when we were kids and chanted, “Liar, liar, pants on fire?”  As adults, it’s often difficult to tell who is lying!  Certainly, the political ads are full of incriminations.  If you listen to the ads, it’s apparent that all the politicians are lying. Personally, I think being a good liar is the primary skill a politician needs to get elected.

What I’m really interested in is not which politician is lying but are the numbers of individuals infected by the Corona virus true and reliable or is the pandemic really not as bad as it’s made out to be.  It seems that a large percentage of our fellow Americans think that the statistics surrounding the pandemic are wrong and have been blown out of proportion by our government or some other hidden organization. 

Perhaps the mask makers consortium is behind the Corona virus outbreak.  Perhaps the plexiglass manufacturers of America are using the media to sell more of their product.  Whichever conspiracy you use to justify not wearing masks and partying late into the night with hundreds of others is not important to me.  What is important is getting you to ask one pivotal question.  “What happens if I’m wrong?”

Let’s assume that you are right.  Let’s assume the figures are blown way out of proportion. Let’s assume that the actual odds of you getting infected are 1 in 500,000.  If you’re the 1 in 500,000 who end up in the ICU or gives it to your aging parent, was not wearing a mask worth it?  I can guarantee you it was not worth it!  Over the last 40 years, I’ve seen patients play the long odds and lose!  Not a single one of them was happy.  Some of them died, some were left handicapped but alive with lots of suffering and regrets.

No matter what you think, wear your damn mask!  Sure, data on various masks is lacking but the predominance of the data still says a mask is better than nothing.  Some of you are anxiously awaiting a vaccine.  Some of you already have decided you won’t take a vaccine.  Again, conspiracy theories are flooding the internet.

I’ve yet to see any data on the vaccine.  What I can tell you is that once the vaccine is approved and that I’ve digested the data dump that accompanies the vaccine, I’ll decide if I’m going to take it or not.  I don’t understand how anyone can categorically state that they will not take the vaccine when they know nothing about it!  

Now you know why I haven’t written in weeks. I’m disappointed and I’m mad. We shouldn’t need the government to encourage or force us to wear a mask.  Wearing a mask should be an automatic response to an infectious threat.  Not only should we want to protect our families, we should want to protect each other.

In the old days, I used to finish my articles with, “The life you save may be your own.”  Now it’s the life you save may be your own or a loved one!

Here’s your music for the day and a joke. 

Three little old ladies were sitting in the park on a bench when suddenly a naked man jumps out of the bushes and flashes them. Well, two of the old ladies had a stroke the third one couldn’t reach.

ELECTION ANXIETY

It’s almost over!  Another few weeks and we will have a new president.  There will be winners and losers.  Will the losers accept the loss and make the best of it?  I doubt it!  I hear that many businesses in large cities are boarding up and getting ready for riots.  What’s happened to us?  

Certainly, the political rhetoric has gotten more inflammatory over the years.  Certainly, the journalistic divide between CNN, FOX and MSNBC stoke the fire.  Certainly, the internet adds fuel and conspiracy theories to the mix.

Doomsday seems to be right around the corner.  Anxiety is at an all time high!  Remember the predictions of disaster with the beginning of the millennium.  People prepared for disaster which never occurred.  There have been lots of predicted disasters that failed to develop.  Will this election lead to one disaster?  Will we really become The Socialistic States of America?  Will President Trump peacefully turn over the government if he loses?  How high will taxes go up?  Will the economy collapse?  Will Covid prove to be the beginning of the end?

These are all questions I’ve heard my patients ask.  No one will know the answers until we have arrived at our destination.  Our destination is the future and, as always, nobody knows what the future really looks like.  So, take a deep breath and try to relax.  VOTE!  For my former fellow Chicagoans, vote only once and only if you are alive.

Then, realize that every generation has had its own unique problems to conquer and we are no different.  It’s almost over!  Once the election is over, it’s up to us to heal the wounds and divisions that are dividing us.  It’s up to us to put fear aside and work at normalizing our lives.

Now, more than ever, we need God to bless America.

Here is your joke for today and your music.

The year is 2028 and the United States has elected the first woman, as well as the first Jewish president, Sarah Goldstein.

She calls up her mother a few weeks after Election Day and says, “So, Mom, I assume you’ll be coming to my inauguration?”

“I don’t think so. It’s a ten-hour drive, your father isn’t as young as he used to be, and my arthritis is acting up again.”

“Don’t worry about it, Mom, I’ll send Air Force One to pick you up and take you home. And a limousine will pick you up at your door.”

“I don’t know. Everybody will be so fancy-schmantzy; what on earth would I wear?

Sarah replies, “I’ll make sure you have a wonderful gown, custom-made by the best designer in New York.”

“Honey,” Mom complains, “you know I can’t eat those rich foods you and your friends like to eat.”

The President-to-be responds, “Don’t worry, Mom. The entire affair is going to be handled by the best caterer in New York; kosher all the way Mom, I really want you to come.”

So Mom reluctantly agrees and on January 20, 2029, Sarah Goldstein is being sworn in as President of the United States. In the front row sits the new President’s mother, who leans over to a senator sitting next to her and says, “You see that woman over there with her hand on the Torah, becoming President of the United States?”

The senator whispers back, “Yes, I do.”

Mom says proudly, “Her brother is a doctor.”

HALLOWEEN

Halloween used to be my favorite holiday.  When my kids were young, the local Lutheran church used to build and staff the most amazing haunted house I’d ever seen.  They sold admission tickets and made a bundle.

The church’s architects, carpenters and electricians built an intricate structure with hidden rooms, obstacles, turns and dead ends.  My family ran the operating room.  Prior to opening, the makeup artist would work their magic turning me into a mad scientist/MD and my kids into ghouls.  Spaghetti was dyed with red and green food coloring and oil was added to make it slimmy, looked exactly like worms.  Lisa would sit in the corner slurping up and puking out worms.  I would operate with a gas-powered chain saw.  

We were so scary that one patron actually ran through a wall.  Others literally soiled their pants.  I always thought it was weird that a church celebrated a pagan holiday, but I loved being a participant in the haunted house.  I also enjoyed handing out candy at home.  The kids used to take a lot of pride in their costumes and loved getting candy, especially the full-sized bars we tended to hand out.  

When I was a kid, I remember walking several miles to a house where the owner handed out homemade candied apples.  Her neighbor served up hot oatmeal cookies.  Candied apples and hot oatmeal cookies were yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy, tummy, tummy. My friends and I never felt threatened.  The candy you collected didn’t need to be checked.  The world was a safer place to live.

I also remember volunteering to x-ray candy when I was an ER doctor.  By the time I started to practice medicine, the world had already begun to change for the worst.  Fast forward to last night, and Halloween is on life support.  The “trick or treat” when kids dressed in costumes rang the doorbell was replaced by unattended bowls of candy left on tables at the end of the driveway.  It was sad!  The handing over of candy was devoid of human interaction.

Covid-19 continues to suck the life out of us.  While social distancing is necessary, it trades human touch for disease avoidance.  How important is disease avoidance?  Very!  How important is human touch?  Is it more important than disease avoidance?  Is it going to cause psychologic damage?  These are questions you should ask yourself.

I find myself wondering if 25 years from now my grandchildren will fondly remember unattended bowls of candy waiting for them at the end of the driveway and tell their children how it used to be in the good old days (in 2020.)

Here’s your music and a joke. 

Q: Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers?
A: No, they like to eat the fingers separately.